Financial contributions to stepchildren: The role of gender and postdivorce family structure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study describes patterns in stepparents' financial contributions and investigates their correlates in diverse stepfamily types. Background: Most research has studied contributions at the household level, rarely focusing on stepparents' direct contributions. Including various stepfamily structures (e.g., stepfamilies with joint physical custody), we examine the role of gender and postdivorce family structure for stepparents' contributions. Method: Ordinal logistic regression analyses were conducted using the New Families in the Netherlands (NFN) survey, large-scale data collected among divorced and separated parents with minor children (2015/2016). Reports of respondents with a new partner about this stepparent's financial contributions to a specific focal child were analyzed (N = 1,439). Results: Stepparents' contributions were infrequent, but a sizable minority contributed very often. Stepparents contributed more often when married, when the focal child was coresident, and when the other biological parent of the focal child was repartnered with new biological children, but less often when stepparents had children from a prior relationship. Conclusion: Contributions depend on the strength of ties within stepfamilies—as with coresidence and marriage—and to what extent existing biological ties compete with stepparent–child relationships. Implications: To better understand the dynamics of contributions, we should also consider the composition of biological ties surrounding stepparent–child relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1362-1378
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Relations
Volume73
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • childhood
  • family economics
  • family structure
  • financial contributions
  • stepfamilies

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